Can Hummus be a Meal?

by Rania Chami 24 Feb 2021


There are times when a container of hummus and a box of crackers—and a sliced up cucumber or carrots or bell pepper if I’m lucky—is my lunch or dinner. Those days there’s no energy or time left for anything else, when the meal is eaten in the midst of several other tasks or in a sleepy daze on the sofa. We’ve all been there, right?

Thing is, I love hummus for dinner. Or lunch, or breakfast, or snacks. And it’s actually quite healthy, packed with vegetable protein and dietary fiber. But to make it feel like a real meal, and not a sad excuse for one, a little bit of extra effort (but not too much) is required.

Where I come from, Hummus is a meal—in Lebanon we had hummus in the fridge at all times. Hummus and Garbonzo beans were served in bowls for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. But the grocery store containers we’re all used to here in the States are packaged as snacking dips. And those little containers are too small for my hummus appetite!

Homemade hummus (Check out my recipe)  really is the most affordable and delicious option when it comes to hummus, but you can make your dinner out of whatever hummus you love most or happen to have on hand. Just dress it up a bit in a proper bowl (no eating out of the container if you’re calling it dinner!), grab some pita, and top it in one of the following ways. You’re on your way to a satisfying dinner:


Pick your fancy: hard or soft. Then peel, half or quarter the egg, and arrange it on top of your hummus. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with paprika, add a flourish of flakey sea salt, and maybe some parsley or za’atar. You can also add some pickles or hot sauce here, or some diced tomatoes or avocado. You’re in charge, and it’s all good.


I just love crispy, pan-seared wild mushrooms on top of my hummus, spiced with lots of garlic and cumin, and finished with a swirl of extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs. But really, any vegetable can get this treatment. Or use a high heat oven for some nice crispy roasted veggies. I could go for some thinly sliced, generously spiced, roasted delicata squash on top of my hummus tonight, couldn’t you? Or how about some cauliflower? Yes.


Spread hummus on pita bread or tortilla. Top with greens like kale, arugula, add some meat like sautéed beef or turkey meat and you have a full meal. Vegetarians you can totally get away with just hummus and veggies top with some olives.


Any ground meat, sautéed with chopped onions and garlic and spices is amazing over hummus. Beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey: you choose. Add some green things on top.


Crispy roasted chickpeas give a fun textural contrast on top of creamy chickpea hummus. Or switch up the bean variety and texture entirely and go for the traditional Middle Eastern dish ful madames made of stewed fava beans on top of your hummus. Or try some of those marinated gigantes beans you can get in the olive bars of most specialty food stores.